Margins have been fine in this year’s Munster Senior Schoolgirls Cup, and it took sudden-death penalty strokes to crown Bandon Grammar as the 2012 champions in yesterday’s dramatic decider in Rosbrien.
Despite a glut of penalty corners, neither side could find a breakthrough in a low-key encounter as goalkeepers Muireann Mellett (Bandon) and Eloise Hickey (Crescent) repelled all that came their way.
A high-quality penalty shoot-out followed, with each side missing just once, but Crescent’s Clodagh Moloney — who had scored her earlier flick and had a superb game — saw her stroke brilliantly saved by Mellett.
Bandon’s players and supporters piled into the goal to celebrate, hoisting Mellett high as they celebrated a first title since 2009.
The west Cork school had three particularly proud mothers on the sideline; Libby Howe, Lillian Chambers and Liz Sweetnam looked on as their daughters, Bandon skipper Vicky Burns, Lorraine Copithorne and Laura Buttimer respectively, emulated them in representing the school in a Munster final.
Chances from play were at a premium, with most of Crescent’s chances falling to their inspirational captain Róisín Upton.
Crescent, chasing a three in a row, routinely effected a double switch at their corners to engineer captain her into close-range drag-flicking space. She cleared the bar with one drag-flick while Mellett saved two others, and Clodagh Helen brilliantly diverted one over late on.
Helen combined brilliantly with Buttimer and Karen Coombes in the Bandon defence, who had the distinction of going through the entire tournament without conceding a goal, while Sarah Sullivan and Copithorne led the forward line with distinction.
For Crescent, Upton and Moloney engineered their best openings with Nicole Power and Karen FitzGerald holding tough at the back while Barrett sisters Lisa and Michelle also had fine outings.
CRESCENT: E Hickey (GK); K O’Brien, R Upton (capt), S O’Hanrahan, K FitzGerald, L Barrett, E Burke, S Woods, C Moloney, N Power, M Barrett.
Rolling subs: M O’Malley, L Kearney, R Harbison, C Leahy, M Mawhinney.
BANDON GRAMMAR: M Mellett (GK); S Houston, S Sullivan, L Copithorne, G Kingston, V Burns (capt), A Taylor, A O’Leary, L Buttimer, K Coombes, C Helen.
Rolling subs: D Obialor, C Smyth, L Judge, L Nyhan.
Umpires: B Madden & F Kelleher.
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